Wish Granted: Poppy’s Exhibition at Christie’s

Poppy Blackburn, Friendship Patterns (2024). Source: The Art Newspaper

Nine-year-old Poppy Blackburn, who has been fighting leukemia since she was three, is making her dream come true by having her own exhibition at Christie’s auction house in London. Facilitated by Make-A-Wish UK, the exhibition will display Poppy’s vibrant and distinctive paintings, all curated with her involvement.

After being diagnosed with leukemia, Poppy found that her experience at the hospital had mostly been transformative. She began to process that what had happened to her had not happened to everyone else. Everything she had known had changed, and it was really hard for her to talk about how she was feeling.

Art became Poppy’s escape, transporting her from the confines of her hospital room into the realms of her imagination. Making art offered Poppy emotional relief and stability throughout her treatments, highlighting its healing potential. The aspiring artist admires David Hockney, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Henri Matisse, Yayoi Kusama, Jackson Pollock, and Banksy.

After finishing her treatment and a period of isolation, Poppy went back to school. Her mother contacted Make-A-Wish, and Poppy decided her wish was to have her own art exhibition as she believed sharing her art would provide an experience for everyone to enjoy.

Art of Wishes, a fundraising effort for Make-A-Wish led by art collector Batia Ofer, organized the exhibition featuring young artist Poppy’s 28 paintings, including her Beads of Courage, where each bead symbolizes a hospital visit or treatment.

The exhibition celebrates not just a starting point in Poppy’s art career but also her perseverance and the role of community backing in achieving dreams. Through the planning, Poppy collaborated with renowned artists like Chantal Joffe, Ben Lowe, and Hannah Shergold, who mentored her in their studios.

Besides the main exhibition, there is an online auction to support Make-A-Wish UK. The auction offers a chance to purchase Poppy’s artwork and contribute to a noble cause: fulfilling the wishes of critically ill children.


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